UF Engineering part of $7.5 M defense department study of spray behavior and control

In Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Featured, Honors & Awards, News, Research & Innovation

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. —Researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute for Computational Engineering, or ICE, are studying the prediction and control of liquid sprays with the goal of impacting a wide range of applications from fuel sprays in combustion systems, liquid sprays for cooling, 3D printing, and mitigation of wake spray behind ships. The research team was selected for an up to $7.5 million DOD research grant for fundamental understanding of spray physics and control to meet the performance and efficiency needs of the U.S. Department of Defense.

“For next generation jet engines we need to have absolute control over the fuel spray – we need to precisely control the size distribution of fuel droplets and where they disperse within the engine,” said S. “Bala” Balachandar, the William F. Powers Professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Florida, and director of ICE. “This we need to do dynamically, by fully understanding how the spray responds to acoustic and electrostatic forcing. Our goal is to tailor what goes on within the jet engine so that we optimize performance, fuel efficiency and pollution.”

Over the next five years, the DOD will support the grant, and as much as $1.5 million will directly support computational studies at UF. The grant is part of the DOD’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, or MURI. The MURI program recently awarded 23 grants totaling up to $162 million over five years.

“Over the past 30 years, the DOD’s MURI program has resulted in significant capabilities for our military forces and opened up entirely new lines of research,” said Melissa L. Flagg, deputy assistant secretary of defense for research.

The spray project is led by Olivier Desjardins, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University in New York. In addition to Balachandar, the team includes; Alberto Aliseda, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington; Daniel J. Bodony, the Blue Waters Associate Professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Ted Heindel, Iowa State’s Bergles Professor in Thermal Science in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The team’s goal is to combine their expertise in theoretical, computational and experimental studies to develop spray controls. They expect to study many control methods – including flow conditions in the nozzle, electrically charged fluids, and the use of acoustic vibrations.

Contact: Bala Balachandar; bala1s@ufl.edu; (352) 392-8909